30 March 2017
Commenting on the publication today (Thursday) of the white paper on the Great Repeal Bill, which provides detail on how the government intends to bring EU-derived workers’ rights into UK law, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The proposals for the Great Repeal Bill fall short of the Prime Minister’s promise to fully protect and maintain all workers’ rights that came from the EU.
“The government proposes handing the power to change important rights and protections at work that British workers already have to judges. This means that important rules to protect workers could be overturned, without the UK Parliament having any say. The protections affected could include your rights to full holiday pay, equal pay for women, stopping indirect discrimination because of your race or gender, and help for workers when they are outsourced to a new boss.
“The government is also taking wide-ranging powers that will allow ministers to scrap or water down rights like protections from excessive working hours, equal treatment for agency workers, and redundancy protections.
“The Prime Minister needs to think again. She should carve out a specific exemption in the Great Repeal Bill to stop holes being punched in the rights that working people in Britain currently have.
“The Prime Minister must also make good on her promise to build on workers’ rights by putting them at the heart of the UK’s future trade deal with the EU. There must be a guarantee of a level playing field with our EU partners – not a race to the bottom on workplace rights. We don’t want hardworking Brits to miss out on new rights that workers in other European nations get.”
Notes to Editors:
- “We will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained. Indeed, under my leadership, the Government will not only protect the rights of workers but build on them.” Theresa May, 29 March 2017 https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-03-29/debates/A6DFE4A0-6AB1-4B71-BF25-376F52AF3300/Article50
- The key problems in regard to workers’ rights with the proposals made in today’s white paper are:
- In recent decades, the European Union has proved an important source of rights for working people in the UK, including:
- The TUC believes that the Great Repeal Bill should include a non-regression clause which ensures that the government cannot use powers set out in the Bill – including Henry VIII style powers – to weaken or repeal employment or equality laws.
- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews